I’m far too sick at the moment to think of anything clever to say about it, but I’d like to just make sure everybody noticed that Australia’s Liberal Party-led government is set to issue a national apology for wrongs committed against the Aborigines.
a decade ago the Victorian Parliament had unanimously passed a motion moved by then Liberal premier Jeff Kennett apologising to Aboriginal people for removing children from their families.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the apology would be made on behalf of the Australian Government “and does not attribute guilt to the current generation of Australian people”.
But some prominent Opposition MPs defended the actions of churches and government agencies in removing children from their families.
Opposition health spokesman Joe Hockey said churches acted “only with good intentions”.
Queensland Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce went further, declaring that some indigenous people had actually benefited from the removal.
“If you are rescuing a child from a violent or from a threatening situation then that is the right thing for a state to do,” Mr Hockey told Radio 2UE.
Senator Joyce said an apology would be “an empty rhetorical statement for the chattering classes in the inner suburbs”.
12 thoughts on “Australia makes latest apology for history”
“an apology would be “an empty rhetorical statement for the chattering classes in the inner suburbs”.”
Yup, that’s about it. And then they can tell the aborigines that they DID apologise, they’re very sorry, it won’t happen again, so can you please go away again?
The Liberal Party is no longer in power, and weren’t actually liberal anyway, more like unrepentant White Australia nationalists (and they were in coalition with the Nationals as well – who are kinda like country farmer Liberals).
Kennett was the Liberal Party Premier of one of the States (Victoria) and pretty much has vanished from sight since then.
The current Labour government is the one who campaigned in part on an official policy to apologise, but it seems lately a bit unknown what form it will take. The completely ousted Liberals who refused for the 12 years they were in power to apologise somehow think continuing that line of policy is still a good thing.
Crikey dick!. When New Zealand government wanted to apologize to its indigenous people (well, one tribe anyway) they invited the Queen to come over and forced her to do it. Then they gave the tribe a whole load of cash and they invested it very wisely. Later the government stole their beaches to teach them not to be so uppity.
No wonder the Queen doesn’t like to come to New Zealand any more.
Well, it was the Crown, after all, so should be the Crown doing it….
Very interesting article by Chomsky that begins with the issue of Japanese apologies and goes on to make an interesting point – Japan may have %@$#ed it up, but there HAS been a great deal of talk. The USA, on the other hand, has not even had real apology debates in the first place.
France and Holland have also had long taboos relating to their respective colonial pasts.
Apologizing to groups within a country – Aborigines or African Americans – is relatively easy. Curious, however, that Germany’s international apologies and efforts at compensation are held up as the gold standard when Japan is discussed, but never the USA, European colonizers, etc.
Reconciliation needs two things. Apology from the opressor and forgiveness from the oppressed. The latter do not exist in Asia as it does in Europe.
“The latter do not exist in Asia as it does in Europe.”
Seems to exist in Taiwan….
The Taiwanese were fully prepared to remain angry at the Japanese indefinitely when colonization was over following WW2, but they decided after a few years that military occupation by the mainlanders of the Chinese Nationalist Party was even worse. After a number of years of this, they began to look back on the Japanese period with rose-tinted glasses. There is a Taiwanese expression that goes something like, “the dog left, but then the pig came.”
There is a similar case in East Timor, where the massacres and abuses of Indonesia’s Suharto regime led to such a high level of nostalgia for their first colonial period that they even made Portuguese the official language post-independence.
Indeed. Ace (and I know that he does not buy this same logic), in his brief post seems to have inadvertently replicated one of the most frustrating aspects of commentary on Japanese war memory in the English-language press – the idea that all of Asia is enraged at Japan. Just not true (and I know Ace knows this). Different factors apply in different areas.
When I interpret the Taiwanese view of Japan I can’t help but consider the role that free speech has played – Taiwanese are able to discuss other atrocities that have taken place in their history so Japan does not become the uniquely savage other. I can’t help but think that Korea – which has never had adequate discussion of atrocities carried out by Korean troops in Vietnam and has typically envisioned the Korean War as something visited on the country by outsiders rather than a series of brutal acts by Koreans against Koreans – could move toward forgiving Japan if there was a more vital critical discussion of Korean history.
Also like to draw attention to the fact that attitudes toward Japan in China are far from monolithic –
“Seems to exist in Taiwan….”
Aha! But Japan have NEVER apologized to Taiwan! And only Japanese PM ever visited their island was Abe’s grand pa and war criminal Kishi Nobusuke(Kishi did apologize to the first Malaysian PM Tunk Abdul Rahman when he visited Kuala Lumpur right after the independence,but not to Taiwan nor ROC)
Mongolia was never apologized for “the battle in Nomonhan”(the war in Khalkhin Gol to be more exact)One of the reason is Mongolians think they had “won” the war against Japan twice.One in Khalhin Gol in 1939 and the other in the battle for Manchukuo in 1945. Ulaanbaatar had kept about 14000 POW after the war for labor purpose against international law(about 10% of them died).UB also recieved about 1 billion USD worth reparation in 1977,when two country formaly made diplomatic relation(Taiwan was against Tokyo recognizing Mongolia until 1976 when ties with ROC has ended)
This may partially explain that my mother-in-law,who had lost her father in the war of Khalhin Gol presumably killed by the Japanese,wanted to go to Yasukuni shrine
to pray,not to protest.(I was pretty uneasy about taking her there,but my wife took her there)
“The Taiwanese were fully prepared to remain angry at the Japanese indefinitely when colonization was over following WW2, but they decided after a few years that military occupation by the mainlanders of the Chinese Nationalist Party was even worse.”
There was a heated debate about this in relation with Hou Hsiao Hsien’s movie “The City of Sadness” by National Taiwan University Prof. Wu Mi-cha呉密察. In the movie,there was a sequence of Taiwanese celebrates Japanese surrender on August 15th 1945. Wu claims that can never be happened to average Taiwanese family,for Japan’s rule of 50 years had made them identified with empire whether they like it or not and the first reaction of the times were shock and awe for uncertain future.
Hou is a mainlander born in Shanghai and Wu is a native Taiwanese and clearly
there is a complicated indentity politics involved here.
“Mongolia was never apologized for “the battle in Nomonhan”(the war in Khalkhin Gol to be more exact)”
Mongolia was never apologized for “the battle in Nomonhan”(the war in Khalkhin Gol to be more exact),but there is no bitter feeling toward Japan over the past.
This is what I’ve found in “Reconcilliation between China and Japan”run by Australlian National University.
” Mindy Kotler said…
There are apologies, and there are apologies that look like apologies.
A careful look at nearly all the “apologies” given by the GOJ for the wartime misdeeds of Imperial Japan reveals that they do not hold up to Japanese legal and legislative definitions of a formal, definitive government statement.
This is, therefore, the problem.”
Kotler was one of the people behind “comfort women” resolution.
Her NGO Asian Policy Point has South Korean Embassy in Washington as one of the donator.
So under this logic,Canberra isn’t really offering anything to be called as an apology,since the ambulance chasers can’t file any class action against the government using these “apology”.Or is there any “Japan premium”in the world of historical reconcilliation.
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